tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC July 14, 2013 12:00pm-2:00pm EDT
we begin with new reaction from all sides. we're hearing from the family of trayvon martin through their attorneys who say they are dealing with this decision as best they can. >> going to church this morning, they're confused about the justice system and how all of this has transpired, so we're trying to educate them, as ms. fulton and mr. martin said, so they can answer questions of their children, and that's what many parents are doing around america this morning. >> attorney general parks also representing the martin family weighed in as well. >> without question every one in america sitting at home this morning knows that if a 28-year-old black man shot and killed a young, white boy anywhere in america, that person would be arrested and face a trial, without question. >> those comments come after
zimmerman's defense team reacted last night by expressing gratitude to the jury of six women that found their client not guilty. >> we are ecstatic with the results. george zimmerman was never guilty of anything except protecting himself in self-defense. i'm glad the jury saw it that way and give everyone thanks, particularly those who doubteded george's reasons and doubted his background now understand the jury knew, everything they knew, was enough for them to find him not guilty. >> that reaction came moments after the prosecution team expressed their disappointment with the verdict. >> we truly believe that the mind set of george zimmerman and the words that he used and the reason that he was out doing what he was doing fit the bill for second-degree murder. >> want to go straight now to msnbc's craig melvin live for us in sanford. you've been outside this courthouse throughout this whole thing and you were there when
the verdict came down. what was the reaction like for those court observers that came out to be there for the verdict? >> reporter: by the time the verdict came out last night, thomas, roughly 250 in front of the courthouse. they spent the better part of the afternoon chanting at times, singing at times, yelling at times as well. peaceful, by and large, we should note. no arrests or anything like that. but when the verdict came out -- moments before that verdict came out, there was a hush. everyone was waiting with baited breath to hear that verdict. moments after that the chanting started again, the yelling started again, the singing started again, some praying, some crying as well. in fact, i think we've got some sound from last night that we want to share with you. this is reaction right after that verdict was read. take a listen. >> my biggest disappointment is the fact that the whole world knows that george zimmerman committed a murder. >> it's the same system that let
george zimmerman walk in the front door of the police department and out the back that night without being arrested is the same system that just let him walk. >> sometimes things don't always go your way. and you can't let yourself fall apart, but you've got to move on as best you can. >> reporter: thomas, one of the things that struck me about the crowd yesterday is the diversity of the crowd. we're talking young, we're talking old, we're talking black, we're talking white, all types of races, the rainbow was here, if you will, in front of the courthouse. and despite the fact that many were predicting that it might turn ugly, so to speak, that never happened. no arrests. i talked to the mayor of sanford earlier this morning. he indicated that not only was that the case here at the courthouse, that was the case all over sanford. there were no emergency calls made last night that had any sort of direct connection to the verdict that was handed down. we were also told that was the case for the surrounding area as well.
>> hearing about the jurors, the six women impanelled in deliberations for 16 hours, are we expected for any type of remarks, to hear from them? are they going to speed with ake media? >> reporter: that's the million dollar question right now. it was interesting last night because we expected at least one of the six would have something to say, some sort of statement. but we got word from the spokesperson for the court that they would not be speaking. they had a stack of requests from various media outlets throughout this country literally about that thick, we're told, and they declined all of them. and in addition to that, judge nelson -- there was an anonymity order that was executed. the identities of these jurors had been sealed, obviously. and that is now going to extend past the trial, we're told. for perhaps as long as six months. there will be another hearing to determine when these jurors, when their names will be made
public. meanwhile, the media has been told, reporters have been told, don't stake out their homes, don't try to find out where they work, do not try to contact these jurors. these jurors also very interested in getting back to their normal lives as well. >> we can imagine so. craig melvin reporting in sanford, thank you. reverend jesse jackson says he's frustrated with this verdict and he shared his reaction on msnbc earlier today. >> this tremendous miscarriage of justice. when the jury says not guilty, he's at least guilty of murder. an armed man, racially pursuing and profiling a young african-american boy and kills him. and in this case, the prosecutor denied -- should i say, ignored the matter of race and the
defense denied it. but the fact of the matter is, this is a pattern of behavior toward young african-american men. >> communities around the country, they're reacting to this verdict as well. this was the scene in san francisco last night. hundreds of people marched in protests through the streets of the mission neighborhood. and then on the east coast, protesters gathered in washington, d.c., marchers chanting, no justice, no peace, as they made their way through the streets. police say the protests all remain peaceful. joining me from sanford, florida, is martin family turn jasmine rand. good to have you with us. first off, how are trayvon martin's parents doing? the rest of the family -- certain members have reacted to the verdict today, but how are tracy and sybrina? >> tracy and sybrina and the legal team are heartbroken right now, we're disappointed but today we made a decision to stand up and continue fighting for the legacy of their son so
that this doesn't happen to another child. >> i think certain court observers were curious as to why tracy and sybrina were not in the courtroom when that verdict was read. can you tell us why they were not in attendance? >> they were not in the courtroom upon the advice of their legal counsel. >> is the martin family now -- and they're going by the advice of this legal team that they've had in place, are they planning now a civil suit to be filed against george zimmerman? would that be the next tactic in trying to provide justice for trayvon? >> i'm not going to talk about the civil suit today. what i'm focused on is the outcome of the jury last night, but i'm focused on the millions of people that we had that gave us support from all over the world, black, white, brown, christian, muslim. they know what george zimmerman did was wrong. and a not guilty verdict does not mean that george zimmerman was innocent. george zimmerman will forever have trayvon martin's blood on his hands and it is it up to us now to peacefully and
conscientiously object to this decision we got from the court yesterday. >> i want to play a portion of what zimmerman attorney don west said after the jury delivered its verdict. take a listen. >> i think the prosecution of george zimmerman was disgraceful. i am gratified by the jury's verdict. as happy as i am for george zimmerman, i'm thrilled that this jury kept this tragedy from becoming a travesty. >> kept this tragedy from becoming a travesty. ms. rand, what is your reaction to that? >> the travest is th travesty i child due to racial intolerance. george zimmerman profiled trayvon martin, with a loaded gun, put a round in my client's heart. trayvon martin died because of ignorance. that's the travesty here.
>> what has happened here, the outcome of this, the situation in and of itself can be utilized to help the next trayvon, the next young child who's in this situation and that their death may not be considered disposable? >> trayvon martin's life is not and will never be in vein. we're calling on people to keep their hoodies up. like i said earlier, we have white people, black people, brown people all come together for a common cause. if it were not for their efforts and attorney crump's belief for equality for all children, we never would have had the arrest for gom dpom. george zimmerman never would have been tried by a jury of his peers. i believe with all of the conviction in my heart, the next time this happens, we will get a convictions. >> are you disappointed in the prosecution's case in the fact that they were unable to convince this jury of the guilt of george zimmerman? >> i'm disappointed so much hate
lived in george zimmerman's heart. i'm disappointed by the people that supported him. i will never say i'm disappointed in the prosecution. i believe that they tried their best. the cards fell where they did. we accept the rule of law. but i would never say i'm disappointed in the prosecution. and i think jon guy said it best in his closing statement when he said, if it was trayvon martin that killed george zimmerman, what would your verdict be? >> jasmine rand, attorney for the martin family. thanks for taking time out for us. i appreciate it. >> thank you for having me. >> america the day after the george zimmerman verdict, have we learned anything about the country's system of justice. melissa harris-perry will join me in a moment. [ male announcer ] fight pepperoni heartburn and pepperoni breath fast with tums freshers. concentrated relief that goes to work in seconds and freshens breath. tums freshers. ♪ tum...tum...tum...tum... tums! ♪ fast heartburn relief and minty fresh breath.
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guilty. the front page of "the huffington post" describing it-t this way, not guilty but not innocent. reverend al sharpton reacted to the verdict on today's "meet the press". >> the verdict came in. does not exhaust the legal options of this family and the bigger community issues of civil rights. we now have a position on the books in the state of florida, where an unarmed teenager who committed no crime can be killed. and the killer can say self-defense. that is dangerous. that is an atrocity. and i think that must be addressed. >> you can watch the full interview when "meet the press" reairs at 2 p.m. eastern/11 a.m. pacific time right here on msnbc. george zimmerman's father reacted to the verdict through a tweet sent out by zimmerman's brother and it read, our whole family is relieved today. i'm proud to be an american. god bless america.
thank you for your prayers. joining me, msnbc's melissa perry-harris. ladies, good to have you here. melissa, i want your reaction out of the gate on that tweet because george zimmerman's father saying he's proud to be an american. there is going toob relief from the zimmerman family because of this verdict. >> there are some people here we need not ever go after, and one is the jury. i think the jury, as difficult as it is for me to say this, as much as i think this is the wrong decision as a question of justice, it does not strike me as the wrong decision as a matter of law for the six people, given the evidence they were presented. i think this is not an unreasonable conclusion -- >> you're saying judicially acceptable but socially problematic. >> and ethically and morally in a whole variety of ways. i also think had they been presented with different evidence and argument, it may have turned out the other way. but george zimmerman is not a creature or animal. he's a human.
imbedded in family and community as well. his family and community have a right to have their own positions. what they don't, i think, have a right to do, and as far as i can tell they have not done, is to vilify the child who was killed by -- because george zimmerman did kill trayvon martin. that is not in question. it was a question of whether or not he murdered him. so at this point if they are saying, we're happy our son, our brother is home, i sort of shrug. sure, of course. >> right. >> that does not mean george zimmerman is not responsible for the death of trayvon martin. i guess what i would ask is if we can acknowledge george zimmerman as a person with a family who cares and loves him, that maybe his family in their public statements, not just in their personal hearts, could acknowledge that trayvon martin was a person whose family is grieving and whose community is grieving as well. >> angela, for the people out there that are infuriated with the fact that they feel that justice wasn't delivered with this verdict, and whether or not they fault the prosecution and whether proper evidence was
brought, you know, people can go over that from here to kingdom come. but what can they do? they feel there's an injustice but we use this to move the ball forward. >> we have to do just that. i think before we get to that, to melissa's point, his brother has vilified trayvon martin on another network. it's horrible. i want people to utilize their frustration, anger not just for this trayvon martin movement, but injustice with our justice system, whether it's federal, state or local, we do have to mobilize. we had a call at 4 a.m. this morning, a bunch of young folks that just said, i want to do something to make a difference. 180 people called in at 4 a.m. to say we're having marches in l.a., new york. we want to push the justice department not only just on the charges but also on reviewing how the criminal justice system currently works. maybe stand your ground was not used as a defense in this case
but it's problematic. we need to review it. we need to keep pushing. >> rob zimmerman was in place to be on another network when the verdict was read. i wanted to play that clip of what he had to say this morning about race in this case. take a look. >> i'm not angry at the media. i think the media has to do a better job when you have people injecting race into things. a red flag has to go up right away, especially in a case like this, where two very crafty attorneys got away with fabricating a completely scripted narrative and selling it to the american people through the media. >> melissa, your first reaction to that? i know you vaebt had a chance to see that yeah. the media, he's not too mad at the media, but the fact that race played a part. >> well, there were two attorneys who injected race into the courtroom, that was the defense attorneys. they used it extremely powerfully and they used it in a vigorous way that the
prosecution did not. race was clear. from the moment george zimmerman followed him, profiled him, got out of the car. all of that was racialized. the prosecution did not make that claim clearly enough. the defense consistently presented racialized arguments saying, basically, that because there were crimes committed by totally unrelated other african-american youth in that community, that it gave george zimmerman the right to find trayvon martin suspicious. and so, yes, there was race injected into this. it was injected by the defense. >> i want you to understand the context of what zimmerman was talking about there was benjamin crump. >> yes, i know. >> and the fact that he -- that crump basically used the 45 days in between the time this murder happened and the time the charges were finally brought up to make it a race issue and the fact that then there was evidence that supported the fact that george zimmerman only called the cops on suspicious black people, doesn't that say
race was an issue and sets the narrative -- >> i think the main thing that made race an issue is that the sanford police, had they showed up and saw an unarmed teenager dead and an armed man standing there -- >> right. >> -- with his weapon, race played a part in that that man was treated completely differently. george zimmerman was treated quite differently than we know an african-american assailant would have been treated. that's where race entered. >> let's talk about this awareness campaign. a lot of us have ill-conceived, misperceptions. we'll look over this case for a long time to come, stereotypes, ill-conceived misperceptions. but this comes down to two americans, two human being and then all the semantics that go into about categorizing each one of them. what can we do about awareness? >> there are several things. i want to acknowledge justice for trayvon martin is not something i started. this is family the family
started, their foundation are carrying. they can utilize their twitter feeds, their facebook pages and all of the other avenues to ensure that people understand there is a role for you to play here. there's a criminal justice system here that is broken and we need to work on fixing it. if that means we have to apply pressure, pleasure applied. but there's definitely a lot of movement happening. again, i don't want to take credit for it because it's not our movement. it should be a collective movement. not just for black people but all american people that see the injustice here. >> one thing robert zimmerman said on another network, this basically exonerates his brother. i think that's false and bold. the other thing i want to talk to you about today, and i've been getting this from family, loved ones, all the people in my life and through social media, and i'll say it, honestly, there's a lot of white shame today.
that this has gone on and dredging up a lot of realities in this country that we're not talking about and then this happens. while we look at lady justice and she's supposed to be blind, what are we saying about the life of this kid being disposable. then there's this otherness factor going on. he was an other and he was suspicious and he's walking while black and he's an other. meanwhile, if you're an other out there, be worried. and this means not just black -- >> that's right. >> if you're lbjt, hispanic f you're different, it's an otherness factor. and there's a privilege that goes into a certain mind set in this country. and if you're different, then you're bad. >> and i want to also con t contextualize this. we're in the age of obama when a multirace coalition of people, both elected and then re-elected the first african-american president -- >> it's all over. we're free of biases now. >> that's right. and then our supreme court guts
affirmative action. guts the voting rights action. and even inasmuch as visits around doma and prop 8, makes it more difficult for the federal government to -- so all of that happens and then we get this verdict. i don't want any community in this moment to feel shame, racial community to feel shame. what i want us to feel is motivated to say we have the right to remaining our america, remake the social contract, the social laws that keep all of us, the othersings and insiders, because we get to be others and insiders at various points. this is the moment where the coalition that's been fraying since the supreme court and disenfrance chisment can come back together because our lives are at stake and the lives of our children are at stake. >> as you say, judicially we have to accept this. socially we don't. >> that's right. pp we can't. >> that's where we need to make progress in this country moving forward to figure out where
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because it offers a superior level of protection and because usaa's commitment to serve military members, veterans, and their families is without equal. begin your legacy, get an auto insurance quote. usaa. we know what it means to serve. republicans won a huge victory this week when they effectively stripped food stamps from the farm bill. historically the food stamp program makes up 80% of the farm bill. republicans passed a new bill with no mention of supplemental nutrition money. joining me new york congressman eliot engel who sits on the house committee. let's dive in. republicans are saying they want to drop the food stamp program. they want it separate from the farm bill in and of itself. do you believe that? >> of course not. they want to kill it. for 40 years we've had a farm bill that was a balance define agriculture interest and food
interest and suburban and urban and rural legislators all voted for it because it was a balance. what happened this time around, republicans were so impugntive in cutting $20 billion from the program, trying to make other requirements to make it hard for people to get food stamps that democrats couldn't vote for the bill. the republican right wing never liked the bill because of the food stamps and the bill went crashing down. last week they tried norma nooufr f maneuver taking the food stamp bill out of the farm bill, they passed it, a narrow bill but they passed it. we still have a lot of people in this country that are still huring. the economy is not good. there's unemployment out there. this is the absolute wrong time to cut this program. >> we're talking about the need for this. as we look at this, in the 216-208 vote not one democrat supported the farm bill in its current state but republicans thought pulling food stamps from the bill was the right move.
they have an argument for this and this morning on "face the nation" your republican colleague mike kelley had this to say. >> i had never talked to one person that says we don't want to take care of the most vulnerable, those who need it the most. i have talked to people who say the system's broken. when we look at what's going on, we're wasting, wasting billions of dollars on a program that doesn't seem to be lifting people out of poverty but keep them in a state of poverty. that's not right. that's not american. >> he's saying it basically keeps people in a perpetual state of poverty. do you think there's holes in that argument or does it make sense? >> it's a bunch of baloney. he doesn't like the program. ultra right wing republicans don't like food stamps. they think it's handing out money to people -- >> a handout, not a hand up. >> people need help and tea party republicans are so concentrating on being punitive and being mean. i mean, 40 years we've had this together.
it's worked out well. people don't get food stamps unless they need it. people get food stamps because they need them to eat, to survive and for republicans to do this, one maneuver after another, try to hurt poor people and break a 40-year tradition of a balance in the agriculture bill is an absolute disgrags. they can say all kind of excuses any way they want but the fact of the matter is they should be ashamed of themselves. >> dems are saying they will squash this stripped down bill. even steny hoyer calling it a bill to nowhere. >> they want to cut all these programs. he know it's not going to happen and we'll have a continuation of what we've had in previous bills, but they just do it because they want to be punitive. they want to seem like they're being tough. it's disgraceful. i think the american people have had enough of ultraright wing
tea party extremism. they want us, the american people, to meet and find common ground. the agriculture bill has been common ground for 40 years. >> does common ground even exist in washington, d.c. these days? >> less and less. i'm sorry to say. i've been there a long time and it's less and less every year. it's sort of my way or the highway with the tea party republicans and this is just another example. >> congressman, thank you for e being here. we'll return to our coverage of the george zimmerman verdict in a moment including how the defense was able to win the case. should have disrupted man. instead, man raised a sail. and made "farther" his battle cry. the new ram 1500 -- motor trend's 2013 truck of the year -- the most fuel-efficient half-ton truck on the road -- achieving best-in-class 25 highway miles per gallon. guts. glory. ram.
the reaction from inside this courtroom was what? the judge had obviously given out the instructions before to not have any type of loud outbursts, but the reaction, the energy in that room. >> you could feel this verdict happen. it was stunning how quiet it got after it was read. it was a really shockingly short verdict because there were so many charges -- well, want so many. two charges they could have gone with and several options but they basically said he's not guilty. after not guilty it was dead silent for at least 30 seconds, i think. and then after that the judge released him and people started leaving the courtroom. that's when you could really start feeling george zimmerman's family relief, their tears started coming, and you could feel their relief. and for the trayvon martin, the family attorneys, you could feel their disappointment because they rushed out of the courtroom basically as soon as the verdict -- as soon as they were able to. >> certainly palpable for both
sides. alexis, what are you hearing about how sanford is absorbing this and taking it in? >> basically the people in sanford are not that surprised. there's a feeling in the black community, especially goldsboro area, that the police have never been on their side, so a sense of apathy, a sense of being dejected and underscoring a feeling that's been going on for many decades. >> in your twitter you sent this out last night. drove around sanford, some heated discussions but mainly quiet streets. to you about the absorption question. how do you think once it does sort of wash over everyone, where does it go in sanford? >> i think right now people are still numb. i drove around sanford. i went to ft. mellon park where there were demonstrations before and it was quiet. there was no one demonstrating. then i went to goldsboro and i
heard people talk on the street corner about their frustration. there was no rioting, violence or anything like that, but definitely people were mad, talking loud on the street. i interviewed one woman who was crying when i talked to her about this. i think they have a long way too go in terms of digesting this verdict. they said they got two things they wanted, george zimmerman arrested and police chief lee fired. they do think they changed the city in some way. >> alexis, you wrote an article about this verdict and also maybe some changes coming to sanford about voices united and not just getting this put in the judicial system, but seeing it processed and zimmerman being arrested and charged. you write, kind red spirits are gathering to lament the outcome of a controversial trial that some feel underscores a widespread belief that for
african-americans true justice is a fleeting idea. explain that. >> the idea a young black man in america can be killed and shot and the person who did it can admit it and absolutely no repercussions is something african-americans already believe. not just in sanford, but in communities across the country, this is the feeling that justice does not serve us and young black men are particularly vulnerable. this is just driving that home for black people in every city. >> and how -- how does sanford, in and of itself, if we kind of get 30,000 feet on this, get above it and use that area as the microcosm for change, how do we do that? >> today there will be a protest. there are religious leaders who are organizing a protest for 3 p.m. that is one step that people are taking to try to not let the apathy create a sense of
depression. they want to turn that sense of discontent, that smoldering, and build it into a movement that will make people take positive change on the local level. the fact is that in sanford, many of the initial people in power who enabled george zimmerman not to be arrested are people who were -- who were elected officials or appointed by elected officials. but often african-americans don't register to vote. they come out for big major elections, major congressional elections, but aside from something from mayor, city manager of sanford is someone who can be elected. are they going to galvanize and get people to participate on the local level in a way that could have prevented this tragedy from happening. >> ladies, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. i appreciate it. i want to bring in our legal experts on this, former prosecutor wendy murphy in newton, mass, and criminal defense attorney john burris, who's in san francisco. it's good to have you both here.
wendy, first off to you, your reaction about this verdict based on watching the defense and the prosecution that was leveled in that courtroom. >> yeah, i thought it was entirely predictable. before the verdict i wrote a piece at my web cited, wendymurphylaw.com, the title is why george zimmerman will be found not guilty. simply under florida law, which is not the case in a lot of states, and i think that's part of the confusion, you can use what's called excessive force in self-against. in other words, if someone is beating you up and you're going to suffer about injury, you can use lethal force. that's not the law in massachusetts. it's not the law in a lot of states. that's the law in florida. under that simple analysis it was clear to me from the beginning that self-defense would be easy for the defense to prove because the prosecution couldn't disprove it beyond a reasonable doubt. this wasn't even a close call. >> john, what about for you, and taking into account when angela
corey got involved with this, was the bar set too high with the charges? >> i always thought the charges were much, much too high. just having seen the photos at the very outset, before she got involved, i viewed this as a potential manslaughter case if not self-defense. so that made it very difficult. so, they tried this case as a self-defense case -- i mean, tried it as second-degree murder case when it never had the facts to support it. even with all of that, when they got into the middle of the case and even toward the end when there was an opportunity to try to make this a manslaughter case, they didn't argue it that well. they didn't try it that well. at the end of the day, the instructions were so confusing around manslaughter i never thought the jury could work its way through it to find it. from a factual point of view it was a challenging case from the prosecutors in the very beginning. i will say this case was tried and should have been tried differently. this was really like trying a police officer for a prosecutor, which is totally different than how you try a regular murder case.
and the defense lawyers tried this case like they were the prosecutors. they put forth all the evidence and they did all the cute stuff that prosecutors normally do. the prosecutors didn't do any of it. in fact, they were on the defensive the entire time. even in their own case they were in the defensive. >> wendy, do you really think the prosecution was unable to connect the proper dots to take the jury where they needed to be to come back to convict? >> yes. i think they showed they knew they didn't have a case every step of the way. i mean, if you don't have the facts, you argue the law. if you don't have either, you pound the table. the prosecution was all table pounding. it was clear they didn't even expect to win because of how they played their case. >> so, john, when we talk about the trials often won and lost during jury selection and we think back now and look at the people that were impanelled, six females, many of whom were mothers, mostly all kcaucasian,
do you think this was a jury the prosecution, in hindsight, should have gone a different direction with? >> well, i think they should have and i think they tried. a couple of times they tried to excuse a couple witnesses and they were unable to do so. this was a jury made for the defense. even though a lot of people thought there was mothers on it. at the end of the day, i didn't see that. i thought george zimmerman's effort at trying to protect their community where women are there, with children, i thought would have a better -- more receptive audience than not. what you didn't have on this jury, which was important, to explain what profiling really was. most of the people in the community, certainly a white community, they don't know anything about racial profiling and what that really means. there was no one really to explain that. the prosecution wasn't able to explain it. and the defense kind of exploited it. the jury never got the kind of information they needed. and they may not have even understood it given what their background was. >> i'll give you the last word here.
>> i think the jury probably thought george zimmerman did profile trayvon martin. and they may have disliked him for that. but what they had to focus on was that his head was being slammed on cement at the time the fatal shot was fired. he was screaming for help. nobody helped him. so, they could have disliked him. they may even think he's racist, but the law only asks the question, did he fear serious bodily injury? if so, he had a right to kill. >> john burris and wendy murphy, thanks for joining me. it is a true war in washington. two of the senate's most powerful leaders going toe to toe and toe to toe like you've never seen before. what's at stake for the country? that and much more. there's a new way to fight litter box odor. introducing tidy cats with glade tough odor solutions. two trusted names, one amazing product. the next day, we sprayed febreze air effects
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firestorm. "meet the press" earlier -- >> i want everyone to hear this. the changes we're making are very, very minimal. what we're doing is saying, look, american people, shouldn't president obama have somebody working for him that he wants? the 15 people we filed cloture a on that are pending, they've been waiting nine months. >> mitch mcconnell says a rule change to permit the filibuster would be a disaster, calling it the nuclear option. >> i hope we'll come to our senses and not change the core of the senate. we have never changed the rules of the senate by breaking the rules of the senate in order to diminish the voices of individual senators. we've never done that. we sure shouldn't start it now. >> let's talk more about this nuclear option. joining me to talk about this senate dog fight journalist david nakamori and staff writer
for the hill. david, let me start with you because senator reid says the filibuster block is necessary in congress. is it a necessary evil? >> it might be. it's probably true and this is something the white house says quite a bit, the american public is getting frustrated with a lot of these tactics. it's worth remining people that president obama was against sort of this idea as a senator back in 2005. now he sort of switched sides and seems to say, i'll support harry reid if he goes forward. mitch mcconnell was in favor of this in '05. it seems the party in power ps to make these changes to move forward with nominations and you heard harry reid say we were going to do a small portion of nominees, not judges. these are people the president needs in his cabinet. some people are being held up since a year and a half when
richard cordry. i think the democrats want to do this. there is a longer term risk, if republicans gain control of both houses next election, they would take it even further. i think that's -- >> there's certainly been sharp tongue reaction to this. senator mcconnell saying senator reid would go down as the worst senate leader in history. there used to be at least this appearance of camaraderie on the senate side in the past. smaller group of people. they see each other a little more often maybe. is that out the window? >> it could be. these are some of the most personal attacks we've heard on the senate floor in the last couple of years. harry reid and mitch mcconnell are known for having a fairly collegial relationship so this really challenged precedent there. i think mitch mcconnell makes the case this kind of reform would really make the senate more like the house. the senate is currently a chamber where the minority has broad discretion and a broad ability to weigh in on issues even if they're seen as obstructionists for doing it.
mcconnell has a case to make when he says harry reid shouldn't do this. it would be an historic change for the chamber. >> does that mean, david, if alease is saying it makes it more like the house, a lot more dysfunctional? >> possibly. it's heart -- >> it's hard but let's try. >> harry reid says the congress has lower approval ratings than north korea in this country. that may be rhetoric but at the same time there's this idea nothing is getting done. no matter what side you're on on these debates, immigration, gun control, the budget, it is true things get put off or get nowhere. talking about appointments, this is something the president is asking to be in his cabinet. you know, i'm not sure there are objections on each of these candidates that are substantial, but they all get wrapped into one as these debates go on and on. it's going to be an interesting day. this has been proposed before. and it's not happened. so, i think reid has to take a
real close look at this but he seems frustrated. >> who are the people whispering in reid's ears saying the pros outweigh the cons? >> those would being some of the younger democratic senators who think the chamber is completely dysfunctional. they came to washington. they expected to get something done. now they're there and president obama's team is being held up by republican critics. i think there are people like sheldon whitehouse, from rhode island, a few other younger senators who have advocated for this change in the past. i'm not sure if they're the ones pushing for it. but certainly this is in harry reid's mind. i would say a couple polls this week showed republicans are blamed by the public more than democrats are for being obstructionists. in that sense harry reid could have some of the numbers on his side. >> thanks to both of you, appreciate it. great conversation. i do appreciate it. still ahead, the george zimmerman acquittal and the issue of the jury's makeup. ♪
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let's grab some headlines. one of the stars of "glee" is dead. cory monteith was found dead in a hotel room in vancouver. they say there was no foul play. teenagers aboard asiana returned to their homeland. the runway at san francisco airport is expected to be reopened today. on a different note n pamplona, spain, a woman was gored in the final running. a man from california and three other runners were also hurt. they sustained cuts and bruises from that experience. back to our big story today. why did the family of trayvon martin choose not to be in the courtroom for the verdict? we have an answer for you after the break. it starts with something little, like taking a first step.
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." we have new reaction from the attorneys from trayvon martin following the not guilty verdict in the george zimmerman trial. attorney crump says the martin family is confused by this decision. spent the morning attending church services. >> we have to remember what the prosecutor said at the very end. if trayvon martin and the facts were reversed would have profiled and followed and pursued and killed an armed george zimmerman, what would have verdict have been? and i think a problem a lot of us are having with accepting this verdict is we know in our heart of hearts that trayvon martin would have been convicted. >> attorney daryl parks who also represents the martin family spoke to msnbc today about the jury's sdilgs. >> that's their decision. we accept their decision. doesn't mean we have to agree
with it, though. it's rather clear this morning in america, i don't think the country agrees with the decision, but we accept it. >> so, the comments come a day after george zimmerman's defense team thanked the jury and described how their client is feeling. >> don't know exactly how you can feel when you're in trauma and stress for 16 months and he's very, very happy with the result, obviously, as there's just a release that happens, an emotional release, endorphin release, adrenaline release. >> before the defense team spoke, prosecutors addressed the media as well and thanked the jurors in this case for their hard work but saying they disagree with the ultimate decision. >> i am disappointed, as we are with the verdict, but we accept it. we live in a great country that has a great criminal justice system. it is not perfect but it's the best in the world. and we respect the jury's verdict. >> take you live to sanford, florida, msnbc's craig melvin has been covering it for us live. we did see the reaction from the
attorney. what do we know about reaction from outside the courthouse? it did draw many court observers who were waiting patiently for that verdict. >> you know what, thomas, as the day went on yesterday, we actually saw that crowd swell, so by the time the verdict was read, there were roughly 250 people who gathered outside the courthouse behind me last night. before the verdict there was a fair amount of chanting. singing at one point. there were also praying, i observed. as word began to spread that the verdict was about to be read, there was a hush that fell over the crowd. shortly after the verdict was read, all of the -- all of that stuff started again, the praying and the singing and the chanting, although the chanting at that point changed one of the more prominent chants was no justice, no peace. our system is broken. those are the two chants we heard most often. behind me, no crowds at this point. the crowds dispersed.
so was law enforcement that was here. there was a heavy law enforcement presence yesterday, as throughout the entire trial. they're all gone. so, where i am here in sanford just a few feet away from the courthouse, things are slowly getting back to normal, we're told. court will be open again tomorrow. business as usual. i spoke to the mayor in sanford and he told me many of the concerns people had about civil unrest proved to be unfounded. no reports last night of any sort of violence associated with the verdict here in sanford or surrounding area. >> craig, the other thing a lot of people curious about, the makeup of this jury. will we ultimately get to know who they are. judge nelson said in the instruction there is no obligation for them to ever speak about what happened. >> no. you know what, i think oftentimes, you know, in cases like this, high-profile cases,
we've become accustomed to hearing from at least one juror. in this case, all six jurors declined to talk to any member of the media, print, broadcast, internet even. they received a stack of requests literally about that thick, each of them received a stack of requests. and media spokesperson for the court informed us all last night that not only would they not be speaking individually, but they would not be speaking collectively. and then on top of that, sometimes they all speak together, they didn't want to do either one of those things. additionally judge nelson decided she's going to extend this order of anonymity, as it's called. obviously, the jurors' names are kept secret during the proceedings. again, for obvious reasons. judge nelson indicated that's an order that's going to remain in effect for the foreseeable future. so, we may not know who these jurors are for weeks, months to come even.
the jurors very much also wanting to get back to leading a normal life. >> i'm sure there's a lot of curiosity surrounding who they are, but certainly understanding why they may not want to come forward to talk about this. they had lot of hard work ahead of them. craig melvin in sanford, thank you. as we've been talking about, george zimmerman officially being a free man, but the martin family were conspicuously absent from the courtroom while the verdict was being read last night. we asked their family attorney, daryl parks, why they were not seated for the verdict? >> we recommended they not be there and that they go ahead and travel back to south florida so they could be in church today. i think them being there probably wouldn't have added anything to what we witnessed last night. >> trayvon's father, tracy, sent this tweet out not long after that verdict was read. even though i'm heart broken -- i'm sorry. even though i am broken hearted, my faith is unshattered.
i will always love my baby tray. joining me now to talk more about what happened in this, legal contributor seema and former new york city prosecutor gary kazmir. great to have you both here. seema, we've had an opportunity to talk about this before. did you think that we were going to get the verdict that we received based on how the prosecution laid out its case? did they connect the dots for this jury? >> no, they did not connect the dots. unfortunately, i wasn't as surprised about the verdict. saddened, but not surprised. that is because of -- not about the lawyering, not about who's flashier than the other. it is about the presentation and the order of the presentation of the evidence. i have said repeatedly the prosecution shut never have put mr. zimmerman's statements into their case in chief, prosecution. prosecutors usually don't put statements where a defendant
says, i'm not guilty, in their case in chief. if they didn't do that, that would have forced george zimmerman's hand to testify if he had wanted to get the self-defense charge to the jury. and then his inconsistencies would have been confronted. so i think from the beginning of this case, i knew it was going downhill, i'm saddened to say. >> hindsight being 20/20 of what it is and the fact this case was aggressively pursued from the outset and then angela corey was brought in, and some looked at the charging thinking they overreached after giving wide berth, is that maybe where one of the first missteps occurred from not charging properly out of the gate? >> that's a possibility. you know, the issue is -- the question is, did you lose moment momentum? is there steam lost not starting from the beginning? i think also not starting from the beginning shows the difficulty the prosecution had with the facts. florida law is so expansive when
it comes to self-defense. it's so broad. you can use more force to repel and attack than someone is using against you. lots of places are not like that new york. it's not like that in massachusetts. so, have you to take that into consideration. i do think he should have been arrested earlier. i don't see any reason why he shouldn't have been arrested. yes, that could have played a role in the prosecution's failure to be more aggressive. i think the other thing is the prosecution failed to be more simplistic in their message. the only thing that was going on here, i don't think they could have kept out the statements, don't believe george zimmerman. don't believe anything that's come out of his mouth. don't believe him. if you have that type of scenario, you have to send a message to the jury, this man is not worthy of belief. that's what they were asking everyone to do here. disbelieve self-defense and convict him of murder two. >> prosecutors never put in exculpatory statement. >> i think they would have done -- >> that's the whole point. they could have forced his hand. if you want self-defense, have you to have a foundation for it. and the defense has to have the
foundation. in this case, the prosecution set up the entire defense by putting all the statements in. this -- i think this case was won and lost on the fact that the -- that george zimmerman didn't testify. if he testified, we could have seen him rolling around on the ground with that dummy and reenacting this alleged attack by trayvon martin. we could have actually heard him on the stand screaming. >> well, here's the thing. two people can keep a secret when one of them is dead. george zimmerman, we will never know what really happened. we will never really have all the facts of what really went down. and now trayvon wasn't there to testify to any of this. and all we had was george zimmerman's case and an originally -- an investigator on this case was like, i need to help you out here. i need to figure out how your story really adds up. and meanwhile, we've got george zimmerman, who got as in
self-defense classes, criminal justice classes, a father who is a magistrate, doesn't have good enough credit to be a cop but has enough credit to buy gun and bullets. >> i think he could have been confronted on not knowing sef-defense because captain carter, the professor, said he knew, it he took the class, he got an "a" and they could have cross-examined him on all of this. >> as i say, two people can keep a secret when one of them is dead but in a civil case he'll be forced to testify. >> absolutely. i think he'll be put on the stand and the opportunity to cross-examine him will be there. it will be a much different scenario. i'm going to the root of this. the jury didn't give trayvon the benefit of the doubt. they're not supposed to. that's what everyone is saying here. a 17-year-old boy was shot. needlessly, unarmed 17-year-old. jury says based on what we see
we can't put anybody away criminally for it. i think the expectations were don't believe george zimmerman, don't believe him. >> doesn't the jury's verdict come back to say basically if there's a criminal in this, it's trayvon martin tm. and trayvon martin is guilty in his own death. >> i think so. i think that's exactly what the jury is saying. >> guilty of self-defense. guilty of preventing an attacker for getting at him. >> at least the family at this point will have the symbolic justice of pursuing the civil case. the standard is a lot less. it's preponderance of the evidence as opposed to here where it's beyond a reasonable doubt. it's so high. preponderance of the evidence is basically 51%. >> we know how that went in the o.j. case and then he fled to florida so he didn't have to pay anything. zimmerman lives in florida. he doesn't have to move to florida. he already lives in florida. i just put that out there.
>> absolutely. >> we won't see him until then. >> i advice for people in georgia i'll tell you in the commercial break. thanks so much. this verdict, it's resonating across the country, including the nation's capital. we'll get reaction from one leading lawmaker coming up in minutes. ♪ [ mom ] for big girl jobs there's bounty select-a-size. it's the smaller powerful sheet. one select-a-size sheet of bounty is 50% more absorbent than a full size sheet of the leading ordinary brand. use less with bounty select-a-size.
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welcome back. new york city mayor mike bloomberg released a statement on the george zimmerman vefrd verdict. sadly, all the facts in this tragic case will probably never be known but one fact has long been crystal clear. shoot first laws like those in florida can inspire dangerous vigilanteism and protect those who act recklessly with guns.
such laws drafted by gun lobby extremists in washington deadly confrontations by enabling people to shoot first and argue, justifiable homicide later. the jurors deliberated for 16 hours. all six are female. five are white. one of them is described as hispanic or african-american background. joining me now is senior trial consultant sonia chopra. it's good to have you here. knowing what we do know about the jury's makeup, give us some perspective on what might have gone on during those 16 hours of deliberations. we only got two insights as to what was going on behind closed doors and that's when they asked two different questions of the judge. >> yeah. i think it was clear there was some confusion about the manslaughter jury instruction, which is not surprising. the instruction's incredibly complicated. i do think the prosecution didn't necessarily do a good job of explaining the manslaughter
jury instruction and giving the jurors the tools to work with that particular charge. so, i think that's one thing that was going on. that's what we know from the questions. in terms of the makeup of the jury, you know, as a trial consultant, one thing we think about are, what are the person's life experiences. six people can hear the same thing and come to completely different opinions about what happened based on filtering it through their own life experiences. a lot of talk was made about five of the six being mothers. that doesn't necessarily work in one favor or the other. obviously, george zimmerman also has a mother who was present and participated in the trial. i think sometimes what happens when you have children there's something called defensive attribution, you want to believe something like this would never happen to your child up. almost distance yourself from the person who was the victim and look for ways to blame the victim. almost even subconsciously to believe it couldn't happen to your child. >> with the jury's composition
and from watching this, is there something you think the prosecutors could have done in presenting their case thatted my have boded a different outcome? >> yeah, i think a couple things happened here. when we interview jurors after trials in criminal cases, reasonable doubt is a pretty high burden. a couple of the other commentators said, we may never know what happened. that's the case with this jury. we tell defense attorneys, early on get this through. i think there were a lot of unanswered questions for this jury that made it difficult for them to meet that burden of reasonable doubt. i think the defense did a good job with their graphics showing how high that burden is. so, i think the problem for the prosecution almost from the beginning was that there were a lot of unanswered questions. they didn't provide a story that maybe made sense to these six jurors. you know, they didn't fill -- they didn't answer a lot of unanswered questions which then
the defense can feed right into as, hey, that's what reasonable doubt is. >> from your professional aspect on this, does it just boil down to the prosecution being outlawyered by the defense? >> i don't know if it was necessarily being outlawyered. somebody mentioned earlier -- i think john burris tried this earlier, they tried this like you try every murder case, which was a mistake. i think you have to switch it when you're dealing with a case like this where you don't have necessarily your traditional defendant and victim. i think there were some mistakes made as early as jury selection, picking the type of jurors you would always want. somebody who's a little more conservative, more pro law enforcement. i think that may have played into it. but i do think that they did the best with what they had. the evidence was a problem for them. i think they overcharged it and missed an opportunity to focus on the manslaughter charge. >> and 16 hours, is that admirable in the amount of time
devoted to deliberation on the case as we know it? >> yeah. i think there's no dispute the jury took it seriously. it seemed like they definitely went through all of the evidence they had. it would have been disappointing for a lot of people if they came back quicker. i don't think there's any blame to be laid on the jury at all. >> thank you very much. it was interesting to hear your insights from a professional's aspects of how juries are made up. appreciate it. from sanford, florida, straight to the halls of capital hill, george zimmerman drawing reaction. when they read not guilty, it echoed across the country. harry reid, a long-time trial lawyer himself, had this to say when asked about the verdict on mp "meet the press." >> i don't always agree with what the jury does, but that's a system. i support the system. now, i may feel differently, but i wasn't sitting as a juror or a
prosecutor or defense attorney, so i'll accept the verdict and take a look at the law they have in florida that is so unusual. >> the senator referring to florida's stand your ground law. joining me from washington is chair of the congressional black caucus, ohio congresswoman marsha fudge. thank you for joining us. i want to say we brought on you because you have the opportunity and talk about meeting with the president this past week. but since we have the verdict now of the george zimmerman trial, what is your reaction to what we all know and what questions we all might have as a country now? >> well, first off, thank you for having me. i am certainly disheartened and troubled by the decision. but i have to say that he was found not guilty, mr. zimmerman was found not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. he was not found innocent. i think all of the facts that i know, that i'm aware of, is that
there was a young man walking in his neighborhood, walking to his house, unarmed and someone decided he looked suspicious. now mr. trayvon martin is dead. and what i could see of the trial, they put him on trial. not mr. zimmerman. they put a young, black boy on trial for being in his own neighborhood walking home from the store. >> so, as we look at this, though, to have to accept it judicially as a country, the outrage is from a social perspective. and it's not socially acceptable that this happened. so, how do we take this and make a better change and utilize this as a way to shore up major fractures within our society. >> i think there are a number of things. i can't say that i believe that the judicial system is biased but i believe those who apply the law and interpret the law often are biased.
and i think that's what you may have seen in this instance. clearly, beyond a reasonable doubt is a very high threshold to meet, especially if the only witness you have is the person who pulled the trigger. i think we have to find a better way of making sure that profiling stops in this country. we also have to find a way to keep people like mr. zimmerman from having guns. we need to make clear that not only did mr. zimmerman have his ability to stand his ground and protect himself, so does trayvon martin. he is being followed by someone. he has a right to stand his ground as well. i think florida has serious issues as it relates to this law. i think they are not even-handed in the way they dispense justice. just in jacksonville, very recently a young mother who fired a warning shot into the air after she was being attacked by her husband, into the air. no one was injured. she received a sentence of 20
years. in the same state. she couldn't hold her ground. that says to me that there is a difference in the way we dispense justice between those who are african-american or poor or minority than others. >> that same woman had a protective order against her husband as well because of abuse suffered in the marriage in the past. >> absolutely. >> a lot of questions surrounding that. i do want -- we have to meet the promise of getting you on to talk about the meeting that had you with the president. so, if you'll forgive me, i want to shift gears with you because as i did mention, you are the chair of the congressional black caucus. in the past the cbc has been critical of the white house's efforts, specifically the president's efforts on african-american unemployment as it stands at 13.7%. in this meeting with the president, did that come up? and if so, how did he address it with you? >> indeed it did come up. we talked about jobs, talked about education, things that not
just affect black community but poor, underserved, minority communities. he talked with us about his plans for education going forward. he talked with us about trying to get a jobs plan in place. we had a lot of good discussion about a lot of issues we think confront our communities. in particular, poverty. poverty is a major issue in this country. we talked about making sure that we can direct funding to communities who are in most need. training dollars, education dollars. things that can help lift communities out of some of the situations they find themselves in today. so, all in all, i think we had an excellent meeting. let me just be clear, thomas, we have disagreements with many presidents, not just this one. and it is important to us to fight for the people we're representing. so, we're fighting for our people every day. >> that's what i was going to say. you are elected. >> that's right.
>> let me ask you about this, with the supreme court striking down provision in the voting rights act, did that come up? did he offer suggestions for how to ensure that ruling doesn't set back minority voting in states? >> the topic did coming up. we discussed it at length. it wasn't so much the president offering suggestions. it was the black caucus offering suggestions as to what we think can be done through the justice department, what we think can done through congress, because if you understand the ruling, the supreme court basically put the ball back in the court of congress. so, we are talking about how we can make the necessary changes so that we can once again enforce sections 4 and 5 of the voting rights act. we also talked about section 2 and 3. we talked about what the justice department can do. there are many things we believe are achievable in the near future. so, it was more us coming up with suggestions than the president. >> congresswoman marcia fudge, great having you here. >> thanks for having me. a political fight on capitol hill has grown more fierce
on capitol hill this week, be prepared for an all-out dog fight in senate when democrats push for a change in the rules on filibusters. nbc's kristin walker is at the white house. good to have you here with me. we've seen senate majority and minority leaders trading blows. a lot of sharp tongues there in washington, d.c. so bring us up on the latest. >> reporter: indeed and the conversation got more heated on "meet the press" with harry reid continuing to threat ton use the so-called nuclear option to take away republicans' ability to filibust filibuster. his argument is obstruction is all new highs in the senate. oe pointed to the fact john kerry was filibustered, richard cordrey, so that is the argument
harry reid is making. today on "meet the press" he said he believes he would have the republican -- the public support, rather, for such a move. >> is there anyone out there in the world, real world, that believes what's going on in the congress of the united states is good? our approval rating is lower than north korea's. it is really, really difficult. >> reporter: as you can imagine, minority leader mitch mcconnell strongly opposes the so-called nuclear option. this week he said harry reid would go down as worst leader of the senate ever if he were to invoke such a move. today he sort of backed off that type of argument. still he said republicans should have the right to debate the president's executive branch nominees. take a listen to what mitch mcconnell had to say. >> guys in your line of work tend to use the word fight when we're having a debate. some of the president's nominees
have been quite controversial. that's what we do in the senate, we have big debates over big issues. they've all been confirmed. we'll take a look at whoever the new secretary of homeland security is. i can't guarantee there won't be a spirited debate. >> reporter: there's no indication that reid could get the so-called nuclear option passed through the senate. some democrats have said that they won't support it. the white house has said they support this move by reid. it's a bit of a tricky spot for them because president obama has opposed the nuclear option in the past when he was a senator. both parties are going to meet tomorrow night to try to hash this out and prevent that so-called nuclear option from happening. thomas? >> kristin welker at the white house, thank you. i appreciate it. we'll talk more about the reaction to the george zimmerman verdict. coming up, i'll have an opportunity to speak with naacp president about that. looked nice? soft would be great, but we really just need "kid-proof." softsprings got both, let me show you. right over here.
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alex witt." the naacp is calling on the federal government today to prosecute george zimmerman for fatally shooting trayvon martin. the organization's president saying the group will pursue civil rights charges with the department of justice. joining me right now is the president and the ceo of the naacp, ben jealous. it's good to have you here. let's start out of the gate with this because a lot of people will be curious as to how you want to pursue these charges with the department of justice against george zimmerman. what's the first step? and do you think you can actually be successful in getting traction in that effort? >> well, the most important message right now we want folks to understand, this is not over. there may be a civil case. yes, the doj could bring civil -- excuse me, criminal charges. we are pushing them to do just that. they tell us they continue to look at this case. this case is open. i think it is almost certain that if a civil case is brought, they would wait until that is done to see what comes out of
that. if there is a civil case, it's almost impossible mr. zimmerman would not have to take the stand. and what he says could be critical to a future case. so, right now what people can do is go to naacp.org and actually sign onto the petition. more than a quarter million people have done so. the server crashed for a second but they're back up now. we need folks to keep on signing on, joining in and pushing doj to follow through. >> ben, you know, there have been so many questions about race in this case. and certainly now in hindsight that we have this verdict, certainly people will be talking about this. >> sure. >> i want you to take a listen. we're putting these two sound bites together to show the contrast here. martin family attorney daryl parks on msnbc earlier today as well as robertson. >> whenever you make race in a
case like this, it tends to divide people for whatever reason and doesn't give the case a chance to stand on its merits. i think they charged him correctly. george zimmerman believed trayvon was part of the element burglarizing this complex and that's why he chose to follow him. and so that type -- the criminal profiling was the issue in this case. >> i'm not angry at the media. i think the media has to do a better job when you have people injecting race into things. a red flag has to go up right away, especially after a case like this, where two very crafty attorneys got away with fabricating a completely scripted narrative and selling it to the american people through the media. >> so, ben, robert zimmerman talking about the attorneys representing the martin family. basically saying and drumming up the fact that zimmerman racially profiled trayvon martin. and now saying that that wasn't really the case. that this was just george acting
on his gut instincts about someone that he was worried was in his neighborhood. race had nothing to do with it. >> his instincts were wrong. and his instincts resulted in a young man dying. if he had listened to the common sense that was given to him by the officers, who were very familiar with with him, who told him to stay in his car, trayvon martin would still be with us and his father would be able to put his arms around him, as i put my arms around high son last night and hear him breathe the way i could hear my son breathe last night. but that's not the case. the sad fact is that despite -- you know, no matter what his intentions were, that his calls to the cops, and there are dozens and dozens over years, tend to be about young black and brown men. there have been media reports of young boys in george zimmerman's community feeling like he
targeted them unfairly. and the real bigger question for our country is, why is it that so many young people of color feel that the good guys, be they self-appointed good guys or be they cops, confuse color as grounds for suspicion? race as grounds for suspicion. a hoodie as grounds for suspicion. that's what we as a country really need to focus on in this moment is how can we do better to make sure there are no more trayvons. >> it also boils down, i feel strongly about this, otherness factor. and coming from a place of looking at people from your ill-conceived misperceptions, stereotypes and classifying them as other. fearing them, they are a danger and so i must act because they are an other, unlike me. that goes for so many of us that may not fit into certain molds of what our society here in america is, but so many of us are classified as others in this
country. it just doesn't boil down to race. isn't that where we need to start in trying to break that down, so we can stop treating each other with such disdain when it comes to otherness? >> you know, years ago -- i think you're right that we really do need to focus on what we have in common. years ago i was standing on a stage with jack kemp in south central los angeles, tenth anniversary of the rodney king verdict. jack was talking about our kids, our kids, our kids. he was clearly talking about the children of south central. an older black woman standing next to me and she said, where is he from? she said, he's not from south central? i said, no ma'am. she said, whose kids is he talking about? i said they're all our kids because they belong to this country, thus they belong to us. that's where we need to go. >> ben jealous, great to see you. thanks for your time. i really appreciate you making time for me and we'll continue to follow what you do with the department of justice from the
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the all-new nissan sentra. ♪ so now that george zimmerman is a free man, what's next for trayvon martin's family? joining me is msnbc legal analyst kendall coffey. i want to get your reaction to, did you see the not guilty verdict coming, especially when we had those two questions from the jury, one being about an example of the evidence list and then when they came back for clarification for the manslaughter verdict? >> when i heard the question about manslaughter i thought this jury or somebody on this jury is considering manslaughter. recall, thomas, there was no follow-up. the judge said, get back to me with a more specific question about manslaughter. the jury never did which suggested to me at that point that they weren't seriously considering manslaughter. whatever our reactions may have
been to the verdict, i don't think it was anything like the shocker that we've seen in some other high-profile cases of acquittal. >> kendall, speaking from your experience in the state of florida and watching how this case unfolded as it did and the prosecution and how they executed what their they're ris were or some people would say they didn't execute the theory properly, could they have done something, in your estimation, in presenting this case differently? >> i think the prosecution did a good job. it began with the reality of a fatal shooting in which the only real eyewitnesss is the one claiming self-defense. and they had some setbacks. certainly, there's nothing they could do about next door neighbor or nearby neighbor john good who said basically that it was trayvon martin on top attacking george zimmerman in a mixed martial arts in a ground and pound. this is a case we have a sense something very wrong happened when george zimmerman got out of the car with a gun looking for
trayvon martin. but there's much less certainty about what actually happened in the fight. the trial doesn't reveal the truth some magical process. it looks at the evidence available and in a criminal case determines whether there's a reasonable doubt. >> do you think more information could come in the martin family opts to go the civil route? >> i think the critical thing that didn't happen in this trial, which could clearly make a big difference, is getting the testimony of george zimmerman. if there's a civil trial, he's going to have to appear for a deposition. and because so much of what the prosecution talked about in opening was george zimmerman has been inconsistent, discrepancies, meaning he's being untruthful, untruthful means there's a cover-up. that the prosecution was not able to fully develop. in a civil case where you could have george zimmerman on the stand for hours asking questions about all the different accounts, all the physical evidence, how it really happened, could be a very different happen. >> msnbc legal analyst, kendall coffey, thanks for joining us. the big three coming your
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time for the big three in today's topics. national dialogue. i want to bring in our big three panel. msnbc contributor, robert, and jimmy williams and msnbc contributor, a political reporter for the national journal. good to see all three of you. i want to begin with something bill richardson had said on "meet the press" just a short time ago. take a look. >> the national dialogue is needed. i think the reverend is right. there's a legal process, too. but a conversation is needed, because there's a lot of simmering resentment over this trial. >> the former governor there talking about reaction to the verdict in the george zimmerman case. robert, let me start with you. there is a simmering resentment
about the verdict. so how does america move the national dialogue, move the needle on this? >> that's a good question, thomas. happy sunday to you. i feel like this is deja vu all over again, race being injected into a trial. we go back to rodney king back in 1992, in l.a. when you take a look at obviously trayvon martin, but of course, o.j. simpson. it seems like when it's a black/white issue, it reopens a scab, if you will, in this country. we keep saying we need to have this conversation, but we never do. hopefully we can have a substantive conversation with all kinds of people to move forward. >> it was over a year ago that the president brought up trayvon martin and talked specifically to the american people about it. i want to remind everyone. >> my main message is to the parents of trayvon martin. if i had a son, he would look like trayvon.
and you know, i think they are right to expect that all of us as americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and that we're going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. >> all right. jimmy, that was leading up to charges against george zimmerman and the discussions about the charges that were to come. here we are post-verdict. >> the criticized got this morning by karl rove, he said the president by making that statement back in march of 2012, that he politicized the issue. i don't think he politicized it at all. i think he addressed something that the american people are concerned about. which is, this issue of violence of the murders of teenagers and children across this country. i don't think that makes it a political issue. it makes it a sympathetic, or empathetic issue. do i think the president needs to step up and talk about this
issue? yes. so do members of congress, so do our church leaders, so do our community leaders, mayors. i think we need to see more leadership from people talking about this issue of, why does someone hate someone because of the color of their skin or their sexual orientation or their gender or whatever it is? until that starts happening, and again, that must come from the top. remember when the president was running, he did give a massive speech on the issue of race relations. it was a very good speech. i would like to see him pony up and do that again. i think that would set a tone for some sort of reconciliation here. >> do you think it's because we have an african-american president that many americans feel race is not an issue in the country anymore? >> certainly you've heard the rhetoric we're in a post-racial society and having an african-american president does represent a significant milestone in american history. but at the same time, you see the case like the trained and george zimmerman trial on trayvon martin's death. and the outrage it has sparked.
regardless of how you feel about the outcome of the trial, you can't deny that people are upset. people are talking about it. and it's not just the african-american community that is talking about it. there are people from all walks of life that are upset and outraged. you can have a milestone of having a black president and that does represent something, but at the same time you could argue, well, the racial gap has increased, unemployment disparity still exists between african-americans and whites and hispanics and asians. there are points of discussion in the policy realm and also in the political realm and communities and neighborhoods. you could have the kind of discussion sparked off and started by a national leader, but who's going to continue the conversation in a way that's an elevated discourse, that isn't this kind of political toxic environment in this country. >> i want to jump over quickly, because we talk about what's going on in washington, d.c. right now.
i want to talk about the three must-reads, getting up to speed as we start a new week. >> the "washington post" is reporting that congressman paul ryan is having behind the scenes private negotiations and talks to encourage house members, including republicans to take up immigration reform. it's notable how he's doing this. he's not making the rounds on media, he's just trying to push an economic conservative case. >> robert, what's yours, sir? >> plolitico has a great story about how the discussion is today. >> jimmy, what's your must-read? >> mine comes from "the new york times." the public editor of the times has written a very good piece, sort of detailing and talking about our role, the media's role in the trayvon martin/george zimmerman trial, and what we have done to report that out to the country and the effects of
that. >> gang, thanks so much. and thank you for watching. that wraps up this sunday edition. "meet the press" is next. when you experience something great, you want to share it. with everyone. that's why more customers recommend verizon, america's largest 4g lte network. all your important legal matters in just minutes. protect your family... and launch your dreams. at legalzoom.com we put the law on your side. show map. [ whines ] ♪
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